National Trust – Stowe

In November I purchased National Trust memberships for my Dad and myself as a birthday present for pops, in a bid to explore a bit more of the UK and arrange a few more family days out. I have to admit it has taken us a shamefully long time to put a date in the diary due to work commitments and me not being quite brave enough to just take myself off exploring with myself and Dougal, this will hopefully change as I would like to take advantage of the scenery to do more with my photography. 

After our visit to Brancaster, I finally got the ball rolling. Last weekend we visited Stowe in Buckinghamshire. A colleague of mine is also a National Trust member, she has been a wealth of knowledge on local sites to visit and the location finder on the National Trust website is really useful too. 

The visit to Stowe starts at the New Inn visitor centre near the gardens where there is a lovely mixture of modern buildings with the cafe and shop along with the restored 18th Century buildings which you can have a little look around before you start your walk.

You then start the short walk or buggy ride if you want to save your legs up to the house and gardens. The walk up is lovely, and there is an idyllic little refreshment stand just before the garden, perfect for that ice cream break of a cup of tea depending on the weather.

I decided to not take Dougal along with me, conscious that having a dog with me might restrict where I went and what I wanted to do but this is a very dog-friendly National Trust site, many long walks and winding paths, and thoughtful dog bowls dotted around for them to have a drink, it was also lovely to see that horses were allowed through the bridle path on the site and many visitors on bikes.

We wandered through the gardens and up past the school to the main house, like many National Trust sites the houses can be an additional cost to look around. The National Trust often has the responsibility of maintaining and preserving the land and parts of the estate and then often the Houses, Manors etc can be still privately owned. At Stowe, you have to pay an additional amount to look round, which I think was £6.50 per person. I enjoy looking around the grounds and at the architecture of buildings on the outside rather than going inside them, so I have to admit I was rather relieved when they informed us the school leavers ball had taken place the night prior so we couldn’t look round, I don’t think my Dad was as pleased. It is always useful to check out the website before attending if you are hoping to have a look round. 

We didn’t make it around the whole of the park land as we had my 2-year-old nephew George with us, and whilst he did an impressive job of staying ahead of us, running off to something, we didn’t want to make him walk too far. Luckily my sister managed to get a space on the buggy to take them back to the entrance.Stowe is a big site so have a look at this map before setting off to make sure you take in as much as you can. After a few hours of wandering around, me asking various family members to move out the way so I could take photos we made our way back to the car for a lovely picnic my Granny and Dad put together. My cousin Sophie also baked us the loveliest scones and brownies. I went home feeling very full and tired. We were so lucky with the weather too which really adds to these days out.

Stowe information – Buckingham, Buckinghamshire, MK18 5EQ

So that was a bit of Stowe for you. I will 100% be returning here, either with Dougal or maybe for a run or with the horses I haven’t decided but it is definitely one you can easily enjoy all year round. I am always happy for any suggestions on your favourite National Trust sites to visit so drop me a comment below or on Instagram. 

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